"The theory of pain we inherited in the 20th century was proposed by Descartes three centuries earlier. The impact of Descartes’ specificity theory was enormous. It influenced experiments on the anatomy and physiology of pain up to the first half of the 20th century (reviewed in Ref 4). This body of research is marked by a search for specific pain fibers and pathways and a pain center in the brain. The result was a concept of pain as a specific, direct-line sensory projection system."
|My old, beloved, well-worn copy|
"The "real world" is a construct, and some of the peculiarities of scientific thought become more intelligible when this fact is recognized... Einstein himself in 1926 told Heisenberg it was nonsense to found a theory on observable facts alone: "In reality the very opposite happens. It is theory which decides what we can observe." "
"A theory is primarily an attempted solution to a puzzle or problem - like a guess made by a detective presented with an array of clues in a mystery."
"Von Frey assumed that a single morphologically specific receptor lay beneath each sensory spot on the skin and he assigned a definite receptor type to each of the four modalities. The crucial experiment of making a histological examination of the skin under carefully mapped temperature spots has been performed at least a dozen times (see Melzack and Wall 1962) without a single investigator finding any support for Von Frey's anatomical correlations." (p. 155)
"It is precisely this facet of the specificity concept, which imputes a direct, invariant relationship between a psychological sensory dimension and a physical stimulus dimension, that has led to attempts at repudiation of the doctrine of specificity in its entirety." p 155
|Well, maybe not quite this big, but big enough, certainly, to cause concern|